12 Oct 2007

Bash prompt (on RedHat)

I've been working with a lot of different RHEL-boxes lately, and I've (yet again) been frustrated with the default RedHat Bash-prompt. It is an easy fix, but its tiresome to change every time.

Okay, the "trouble" is this:

  [lars@titan ~]$

This is the default bash prompt. Now, thats fine enough, but lets jump to another directory.:

  [lars@titan lib]$

Where am I now? Which directory is this? Hm?

Since the RedHat prompt only shows the current directory, and NOT the full path, it can be any number of directories:
  • /lib
  • /usr/lib/
  • /usr/src/linux/lib/
  • /usr/local/lib/
  • /opt/lib
  • /var/lib
  • ~/lib
  • ...
You get the idea? And, if you have the same amount of short-time memory like me, you have to constantly type 'pwd' to check which directory you currently are in. The only nice feature with the default RedHat prompt, is to prevent long wrapping prompt (when the full path gets long).

Luckily, it is easy to change the prompt. Just add this to your ~/.bashrc

  PS1='\u@\h:\w\$ '
  PS2='> '

This gives you:


And lets now jump to another directory:


See? No more 'pwd'! Finally a more sane and useful Bash prompt!

You can find more prompt variables in the Bash manual.

A slightly more fancy variant of the above, is to make the prompt bold:

   PS1="${BOLD}\u@\h:\w \$${OFF} "
   PS2="${BOLD}>${OFF} "

Just add it to your ~/.bashrc, and it will look like this:


You can pimp your prompt with colors and all kinds off information. Read the Bash Prompt HOWTO for more.

No comments: